Inside Charm Industrial’s big bet on corn stalks for carbon removal

Reinhart says Charm will take up only half the agricultural material on any field, and he notes that putting the resulting biochar and ash into the fields will improve soil health. He adds that the competitive use of corn residues depends on the region, but most of it is not sold or plowed, which causes it to rot and emit carbon dioxide.

But he emphasizes that the charm will be properly responsible for alternative uses, changes in land use and these other factors.

The company’s internal carbon math estimates that while the company is using its own pyrolyzer, the process will typically remove 0.85 tons of carbon dioxide for every ton of biomass. Reinhart says the figures will change over time by switching to carbon-neutral singles instead of diesel to start the charm pyrolysis process, optimizing its pyrolyzer to convert plant substances into bio-oil, and eventually transitioning to electric trucks.

The role of government

Robert Hoglund of Marginal Carbon Abbey, a consulting firm specializing in carbon removal and climate policy, says Charm’s customers are paying $ 600 per tonne today to help “kick-start” the approach, betting the company will be able to cut costs. . But he says it is unclear whether Charm’s method will prove to be the most efficient, measurable or affordable over time, or whether this will prove to be the best use of biomass as the need for more renewable energy sources grows.

It is also unlikely that corporations will continue to remove enough carbon to reach the billions of tons each year that may eventually be needed, both to stabilize planetary temperatures and to sustain emerging businesses to release greenhouse gases from the air.

In effect, investors and startups are betting that governments will subsidize, encourage, or legislate these practices. Reinhardt, for one, acknowledges that government policy will be crucial to creating carbon footprint markets that will allow its company and others to grow.

He says Charm is working to educate lawmakers in California and Washington, D.C. to give more support to the new sector as well as rules that are technology neutral, while researchers and companies explore different avenues.

“Corporate buyers like Microsoft, Stripe and Shopify will only get that much scale, and then regulation will need to move forward,” Reinhart said in an email.

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